Friday, December 30, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Potato Sausage Soup

Here we are at the end of the year and this is the last recipe. I've been really bad about posting recipes the last several months, but it's the holidays and I'm sure everyone understands how that goes. I would like to report that I have succeeded in cooking something new at least once a week for the entire year. Good job for me. I feel that John and I have eaten a little healthier this year and I'm pretty proud of that. Here's hoping we can continue to do even better next year.

Here is the final recipe of 2011. I didn't actually make this one. John did. He let me play video games all day and he took care of everything. He's such a good husband.

Potato Sausage Soup


1½ T butter

¾ c onion, chopped

¼ c celery, chopped

6-8 oz smoked sausage, diced

¼ c flour

½ t dried parsley flakes

½ t dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ c chicken broth

1 lb potatoes, peeled, diced (I bought a 1lb. bag of mini-red potatoes.)

¾ c sour cream


Melt butter in skillet on medium-high heat; add onion, celery and sausage; cook until sausage is browned.  Stir in flour until smooth; add seasonings. Blend in chicken broth; add diced potatoes, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in sour cream and continue cooking until heated through.


Sliced Celery Sticks


Sliced celery sticks

Peanut Butter


Spread sliced celery with peanut butter.




Frozen biscuits



Cook biscuits according to instructions; top w/ butter.

Okay – So that's the recipe.

When John had gotten it nearly done he called me in for some help… He'd let the food simmer on too high of heat and most of the liquid had gone out of it. With a little ingenuity we added about another 1½ cups of water and stirred it in and then let it all come back up to temperature. It turned out pretty good.


What did John do differently?

He added pepper and only a little salt because the sausage is usually salty enough. In the end it could have used some more pepper.


What would I do differently next time?

I'd use Kielbasa Sausage or maybe Italian flavored ground sausage. The smoked sausage just didn't seem to have enough flavor to balance out the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.

I'd probably add that extra 1½ cup of water to the recipe. It didn't hurt it, and it actually still had a really thick broth after adding the extra water.



Again, a big thanks to for helping getting things on track. If you're interested use the link below to sign up so I can get some credit for it.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

That's a long drive....

The new and improved map on how we shall get to our friends house on New Years Eve.... I wonder how long it will take us to get there?

View Larger Map

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas with the Evans' 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

It has come to the time of year when we like to look back at what has been and gone, and look forward to what is coming. I have tried writing this letter many times in the past few weeks, but the words just never seem to come out correctly. This year has been so full of good memories for us, and the months have just flown by. I can hardly believe that the year is almost over.

I’m feeling very… preachy… spiritual… humbled… awed… today. I’m not really sure of the word to use for it. I have been sitting within the confines of my cubicle listening to Christmas music all morning and feeling touched by the spirit and feeling my cold black heart melt a little towards this season of greed. Because, it’s not about greed at all, but it’s about our Savior.

Jesus Christ was sent to earth for me, and the angels sang of his glory and testified of him to the world, not just to some shepherds in a field. Some times I like to think that maybe, just maybe I was a part of that heavenly choir singing praises to my King, my brother, and our Father’s gift to man.

I may hate the Christmas season, and what it has grown to be. I hate the shopping and the commercialism. I hate the greedy kids and the parents that just wont say no. I hate the “I wants” and the “give me” that we hear daily. I hate the crowds and the noise and the busyness of it all...

But above all else, I love giving. I love sharing. I love seeing the smiles and wonder on the faces of the little people in my life when Santa appears, or when the Christmas story is read. I love seeing strangers smile at each other in the streets and neighbors waving. I love seeing families spending quality time together. I love the music that speaks, not just of the season, but of our Savior. I love singing hymns and carols and not caring if I’m off key. I love looking at the lights in the stillness of the night. I love watching the snow fall and how it makes the world look new. I love being reminded not only of our Savior’s birth, but also of the promise of the atonement and eternal life and families. I love that for just a little while, the majority of the world sets aside their differences and we all share in a day of peace and humbled remembrance of what gifts we have been given.

This year has gone by quickly and we have done so many great and fun things, but what stands out to us so much is that this year has been full of examples of love for us. We have been on the receiving end of so many blessings and I hope that some where we were able to reciprocate and let you know that as our friends and family that we do love you, more than I think we even understand some days.

John and I have been blessed with families with whom we value our time. For friends that love us and understand us and might was well just be part of our families as well because we love you just that much.

So instead of a travel log of what we have and haven’t done this year, instead I’d like to share with you my testimony of our Savior. He lives. He loves us. We celebrate His birth because this is a man who came for each of us. He is the greatest example. He atoned for our sins and gives us the opportunity to be forgiven. He lived his life as an example of what we can and should be. Christmas should be about HIM and not about the things we have. He asks us for our faith, our love, and our broken hearts. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, with all my heart I know it. If we can just follow his example and do the best we can He’ll make up the difference and we’ll be able to live with him forever. I’m grateful for the gospel in our lives and the opportunities that we have to share with others, by word and example.

May the Lord bless you in this coming year. May you always remember the love that we have for you, and know that we consider ourselves blessed because of our friendship.

Merry Everything, and Happy Always.
Liz and John Evans


"This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."
~ Howard W. Hunter, "The Gifts of Christmas," Ensign, Dec 2002, 16 ~

Movies: Some Good Stuff

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) - I really loved this movie! John enjoyed it too. Robert Downey, Jr. did not disappoint as Holmes again. The story was engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I'll admit, the end made me cry.
Torchwood: Series 1 (2006) – We’ve nearly completed the entire season in the last 3 days. That’s a lot of episodes… but they have all been pretty good. There is a an over abundance of sexually related themes in some episodes, but the stories themselves are pretty good. It’s just that awesome extension of Doctor Who that us nerds look for some days. The stories follow the adventures about Gwen Cooper, even though I really do wish they were about Jack Harkness. I’d suggest this for adult viewers since there is adult situations, but for fans of The Doctor you’ll enjoy the alien zaniness of it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Movies: The Musicals Continue

Victor/Victoria (1982) - This was better than we expected. It got a few good laughs and we enjoyed watching it. But I'm sorry, there is nothing remotely manly about Julie Andrews. A short haircut does not a man make. Robert Preston made an excellent old drag queen.
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Series 2 - Love this show. There switched out some main characters this season, but since I watch it specifically for Sarah Jane I don't care so much.
The Tudors: Season 2 - I know this isn't the best viewing selection, but I love it. I am fascinated by the story historical information (or misinformation as the case is sometimes.) I think I need to get myself a real history book about the Tudors and learn something real. This season Anne Boleyn falls from grace and is executed in the last episode as well as most of her friends and supporters. I wish I could have my enemies beheaded some times.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I hate fighting.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What is today's stupid holiday?

Today is...
Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day
Time to pull out my sonic screwdriver and robot dog and have at it. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Came and Went...

Nov 5th – We took Banjo to get fixed. That darn cat went into heat the week before and howled and howled nightly all week. That deep guttural primal howl that makes you just want to throw a lamp at her… No one in the house slept well – if at all – for the entire eight days, and we were all super grumpy – cats and people. I found a discount spay/neuter clinic in Clearfield. Thank Heavens! Heartsong Spay and Neuter Clinic really saved us. Banjo was nearly driving John to the point of throwing her outside again. I had called around to other veterinarians in the area, pricing out how much it was going to cost us to get this girl fixed, and the prices started at $158 and just went up from there. There was no way we were going to be able to afford this, but it had to be done before Banjo found herself homeless again. Thankfully, Heartsong will do it for $45. In the end, we ended up paying out $72 to get her fixed ($10 extra for cat in heat and extra $$ for vaccinations.) She scratched the heck out of my arms while we tried getting her in the kennel that morning, but the battle scars are worth it to have quiet in my house again. The scratches on my left arm have the look of a Zombie bite. That’ll make a cool scar.
Also - She is still FREE TO A GOOD HOME. Now there is a bonus. Not only do you get her snazzy yellow collar, a pink house, and a food bowl, but now she is fixed. Isn’t there anyone out there who wants this adorable kitty for your own?

Free to good home: Banjo the woodpile cat who is often called Banjo Doofensmertz. She needs some serious love, patience and rehabilitation. The people next door just left her outside when they moved away. Box trained. She’s brown and black and super soft. The cat is pretty skittish and untrusting still, but what do you expect after being left behind. With some extra love I think she could be pretty snuggly. As it is she is really sweet when she lets you get close enough. Seems pretty good with other cats bus she may be most happy as an only cat. I'd love to keep her but 3 cats is proving too much for John's allergies (and my own.) If you are interested let me know. Please share this with your friends. If I can keep her I want Banjo to have a good home. She’s been neutered! Pink house, yellow collar, and food bowls included.

Nov 6th – Scott and Ariane had their cute baby Jack blessed at church. The blessing was nice, and John was asked to stand in the circle. I was asked to bring a pot of soup, so I chose to bring my chili. Everyone apparently loved it, I got quite a bit of praise for it, and I didn’t have to bring any of it home. Too bad no one realizes just how easy it is to make.

Nov 10th – Pi Day! November 10th is the 314th day of the year making it an unofficial Pi Day. John took pie to work for his guys, and later that evening the Evans’ got together for Pizza Pie and other assorted Pie. Mmm. One of our favorite days of the year. This day also brought about my newest favorite excuse Lucy gave for not wanting to talk to me… We were all sitting around watching football when Scott asked Lucy to tell me what she wanted for Christmas and the silly little girl turned away from me with a wave of her hand and said “I can’t. I need to hear the score.” And that was that. I don’t know why she doesn’t want to talk to me. Some days it really hurts my feelings that Lucy and Kira don’t talk to me, or say my name, but other days I just let it roll off and think that maybe one day they’ll love me enough to talk to me and not just talk about me when I am not there.

Nov 11th – BINARY DAY 11.11.11 which was pretty neat. This day wont come around for another 100 years so that made it a little special. It was also Veterans Day. There was also a thing going around on Twitter asking for your life in 11 words. This was mine: “Ten years, four cars, three cats, one husband. I am happy.” I thought it was pretty fun summing up things in 11 words. Just like the 6 word memoirs that I was so fascinated with a few years ago.

Nov 15th – I LOVE TO WRITE DAY. I love random holidays, and this is one I enjoyed this year. I didn’t know it existed until a friend at work pointed it out to me. And I do love to write. I’m sure if you’re an avid reader of this blog then you know that by all my ramblings on. But do you know how the desire to write burns in my soul and aches to get out. How my brain is constantly running dialogues and stories that may or may not ever make it to paper. Did you know that? Did you know that I’d love to be a real author, but that I don’t think I’m good enough? Today I’m going to share with you a link to a little piece of my soul. I post some of my writing on a website called Figment. Here is the link to MY PAGE on figment. And here is where this quote would be appropriate: "But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." - W.B. Yeats

Nov 20th – Step One: Go back to Church. This is harder that it may sound. It has almost been three years (in February) that I have attended church on a regular basis and John hits his three year mark in May. It’s not that we don’t know that going will bring us blessings, and help us be happier, it just that we’re super, super lazy. We’ve gotten out of the habit and we need to change that. Yet, *knowing* what we need to be doing, and *doing* what we need to be doing are miles apart.

Nov 22nd – Ten years ago today John proposed to me on his parents front step. Ten years ago today I said yes. I haven’t regretted a minute of it. Ten years ago Nov. 22nd was also Thanksgiving day, so I kind of have two remembrance days regarding when I was proposed to. We went out to dinner at Javier’s in Layton to celebrate.

Nov 23rd – DOCTOR WHO DAY. Seriously, it’s a real holiday. This is the 48th anniversary of the première of Doctor Who back in 1963. I have been watching Doctor Who my whole life. As I explained in this POST from several months ago, I dearly love this show. This is one of the longest running Science Fiction shows on television. John and I celebrated by watching as much Doctor Who as we possibly could. Loved it! We got Series 6 in the mail just in time. We used our entire Thanksgiving weekend to catch up on Doctor Who, old and new. I was supposed to have made Dalek cupcakes for the occasion, but I only got as far as making the cupcakes. John ended up getting a 24 hour flu that put him in one of two places for the day, and I just kind of hovered around, so nothing got done that I had wanted to get done.

Nov 24th – THANKSGIVING! This year we got to spend the Holiday with my family. It’s been a while since we did that. What with Lari passing away 2 years ago somehow we were roped into spending the last two thanksgivings with the Evans’. Not that that is a bad thing, but I miss my own family every now and again. Especially since we have so few family traditions and family together times that when it does come up I really miss it when I’m away. Nicole and Geoffrey spent the day with the family since they’re at BYU. It was fun seeing them. After the McDermott family feast the pears’ ended up at Norm’s house to look at Jessica’s 500 pictures from England and to just generally be together. It was really nice. It was just me and John, my parents, Norm and Becca and Sophie, Jessica, and Nicole and Geoffrey. It seems that my brother Z and his wife have decided that we’re all evil because they no longer talk to any of us. No one really knows why or what we may have done to spur it, but that’s how it is, and it’s pretty sad for us all. Maybe John and I aren’t on the shit list, but we’re so antisocial we hardly speak to anyone in our families... <>

Nov 26th – We got to baby-sit Lucy and Jack while Scott and Ariane went to the Temple. Scott’s sister got married on the 27th so this was her endowment day. It was fun to play with the kids, and Jack is only 4 months old so he’s still one of those eat sleep and smile babies which makes baby-sitting easy for the most part. As for the four-year-old, she just makes life interesting. I was reminded today that even though I really want to have kids of my own I am very glad that I don’t have any. I’m not ready for that kind of responsibility.

Um... That looks like it was the end of the month. It went by so fast its hard to recall what really went on. Now it's on to the next few months of stuff.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November, The Month of Thankfulness

Nov. 1st – I am thankful for friends and family who take my love of Halloween and quirkiness for what it’s worth and love me anyway.

Nov. 2nd – I’m thankful for discount veterinary clinics and the hope of quiet in my house again.

Nov. 3rd – I am thankful for a husband who lets me watch Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle without too much mocking.

Nov. 4th – Feeling very … Bleh, meh, ugh, grr, today. I am very thankful that it is Friday, even if I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow.

Nov. 5th – I am thankful for Musicals that make me smile.

Nov. 6th – I am thankful to be an Auntie today. Even though I can’t have kids of my own I am surrounded by little people who allow me to love them.

Nov. 7th – I am thankful for an extra hour of sleep that helped me to get to work on time.

Nov 8th – I'm thankful for Facebook for hooking me up with old friends, distant cousins, and family who don't live close enough to hug.

Nov. 9th – I am thankful for having a job. I may not like it all the time, but at least I have one.

Nov. 10thI'm thankful for Pie... even though I don't get to have a piece until very late this evening... Hurrah for Pi Day the 314th day of the year.

Nov. 11th – I am thankful for Veterans. I am thankful for the men and women of the armed forces who give their time, and lives, to help keep me safe and protect the freedoms that I have. I’m thankful for my friends and family, past and present, who have chosen to serve their country.

Nov. 12th – I’m just thankful to be me.

Nov. 13th – I am thankful for my warm bed on lazy snowy Sundays.

Nov. 14th – I'm thankful for good books that stir the imagination and help me believe in the unbelievable.

Nov. 15thIn honor of "I Love to Write Day" I am thankful for my own imagination. I'm thankful that I have the ability to put words to paper and tell the stories that dance through my brain. I'm thankful to be literate and for the people, authors, teachers, and friends that have inspired me to be a writer... even if I'm the only one who ever reads what I write.

Nov. 16th – I'm thankful for the comfort of knowing that death is not the end. I'm thankful for my belief in eternal families and for the knowledge that I will see those who have passed again.

Nov. 17th – I am thankful for my ability to cook. This may not seem that impressive to some, but to others it is quite a feat.

Nov. 18th – I'm thankful for a silly husband that can make me laugh until I cry... even at six-thirty in the morning when I'd rather be sleeping.

Nov. 19th – I'm thankful for my family. Each member is special to me for many reasons. I'm lucky to be a Pears AND an Evans.

Nov. 20th – I'm thankful for naps today. Long ones. In warm spots. Next to someone I love.

Nov. 21st – I’m thankful for relief society sisters who, even though they haven’t seen me for nearly three years, welcome me with open arms.

Nov. 22nd – I'm thankful that ten years ago today my best friend asked me to marry him, and that I said yes.

Nov. 23rd – I’m thankful that 48 years ago today the most awesome television program was released on to screens in the UK ushering in one of the greatest and long running science fiction shows ever. Thank heavens for Doctor Who.

Nov. 24th – I am thankful for time spent with the people I love.

Nov. 25th – I'm thankful for quiet time.

Nov. 26th – I'm thankful for long weekends used for laying around, sleeping in and being able to get thing done in my own time.

Nov. 27th – I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his teachings. I'm thankful for the person I am because of what I have learned and the examples of Christ I have in my life.

Nov. 28th – I'm thankful that my two best friends also happen to be my sisters.

Nov. 29th – I'm thankful for co-workers who I can laugh with and sometimes call friends.

Nov. 30th – I'm thankful for my health. This last day of November completes the first full month of me not being sick (knock on wood) since July. I'm grateful for the medicines, doctors, hot soups, warm drinks and cozy beds that help me feel better.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Cheesy Chicken Soup

Here's your recipe for the week.


Cheesy Chicken Soup

2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced

1 pkg. Bear Creek Chicken Noodle soup mix

8 oz pkg. Velveeta Cheese


Follow directions on Soup mix package.

Add chicken and cheese. Simmer, stirring often, until cheese is melted.


Crispy French Bread

½ loaf French bread


Warm bread in oven until crispy. Cut in chunks and serve with melted butter


Sliced Apples w/ Peanut Butter

1 apple

Peanut butter

Thinly slice apples and top with peanut butter.


Soup was the easy choice for dinner last week since John was sick and chicken noodle sounded pretty good. I was just going to make the chicken noodle soup, but John said just to do the recipe and get it over with. So I did.


What I did differently:

I only used 8 oz of Velveeta cheese. I changed the recipe above to reflect this. It originally called for 16 oz, but after making it with only 8 oz. I think that an entire pound of Velveeta would have been TOO MUCH. It was good with just the smaller amount.


This was so easy to make and it's pretty good.

Heads Up! The Bear Creek soup mixes make a lot of soup.



Movies: The Month of Musicals

Guys and Dolls (1955) - This is my favorite musical by far. I think it may be the first musical I really remember seeing live, as preformed by Davis High way back in the 80's. The movie version of this is spectacular. There is nothing not to love about the story, the main characters, the actors. What a great combination. I think this also may have something to do with my fascination with gangsters.
Brigadoon (1954) - Neither of us has seen this before. It was a good movie with a great story. I'm really glad this was picked as one to watch I may add it to my favorites. Gene Kelly is a very talented man. The story covers a man who got lost hunting an a town that only appears once every 100 years, and a woman who falls in love. Very sweet. Yes, there was a bit of silly dancing, but not as much as there could have been. The story moved pretty quick and it was over before we knew it.
Anything Goes (1956) - Cute movie. Very predictable, but that's a given for some musicals. John and I both enjoyed this... yes, there was a bit of interpretive dance, but not as much as there has been in others. Two partners in a production each pick a leading lady... but there can only be one. On the trip from England to the US, love falls on everyone and problems are solved.
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) - There was something about this movie that neither of us could stand. I think it was the main actor, he was really annoying. As the story goes, a man reads a book about succeeding and proceeded to rise very quickly in the company, making friends and enemies along the way, all culminating in his rise to being a member of the board. We have both seen this production live and rather enjoyed it for the most part, but it seemed that sitting through the movie version was some sort of punishment.
Non-Musicals ...
The Tudors: Season 1 (2007) - I had wanted to watch this for the last few years, but could never bring myself to obtain it. Now that its available to watch for free with my blu-ray player and Amazon Prime I figured "Why Not?" Well, this show is full of sex. Lots of it. But beyond that I have learned a lot about the history of England, the church of England, and Henry the VIII - both the fictitious stuff on the show and the real stuff that we have googled because of the show. It's al very interesting, minus the nakedness of it.
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series (2011) - We're finally caught up with the current Doctor Who series. We've suffered through this year listening to our friends and family talk in hushed tones about what was going on in the Who-niverse, and now we know. Discussions, and Matt Smith bashing may commence. And yes, that means that I still don't like him as the Doctor. This season did have some really good episodes though, and we laughed, and I cried, and it was over all too soon. This is such a great show.
Doctor Who with Tom Baker (1978) - We watched the following episodes:
    The Power of Kroll: Parts 1-4
    The Ribos Operation: Parts 1-4
    The Armageddon Factor: Parts 1-6
They all involve gathering the pieces of the key to time. Unfortunately the blu-ray and Amazon don't have the complete story arch of this to watch for free. but it's pretty entertaining none the less. I miss K-9, and I really dislike Romana. She is an annoying Time Lord and I'm not sad at all that she was lost in the time War.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eating With Liz 2011 - Pumpkin Bread

In the spirit of the season of harvest, I have made the following item for my new recipe this week:

Pumpkin Bread

1½ cup Flour
½ tsp Salt
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Pumpkin puree
½ cup Oil
2 Eggs beaten
¼ cup Water
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Allspice
½ cup Walnuts (optional)

preheat oven to 350o.
Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.
Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices together, then combine with dry ingredients, but do not mix thoroughly.
Pour batter into a well buttered loaf pan. Bake 50 - 60 minutes until a skewer poked into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf.

This recipe comes from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook that I have talked about before. I love this book. This bread turned out really yummy.
I actually forgot to add the oil, (I find I do that a lot recently,) but the bread still turned out really good. I'm not sure what the point of oil in a recipe is for, but apparently forgetting it isn't detrimental to the entire recipe.
What really inspired me to make this bread? The tupperware full of pumpkin puree I had in my refrigerator. A while ago I made some pumpkin cookies and the recipe only called for ¼ cup of pumpkin, but as we all know canned pumpkin does not come in small cans, so I had a ton of pumpkin left over. I had been trying to think of what I could make with the extra puree… and I decided that bread was a good idea.  I had enough left over pumpkin to make two batches.
I didn't add the nuts. Yuck! And like I said, I forgot the oil, but it is pretty yummy.
I baked this for 50 minutes and I think that was just about right for my oven. The edges of the bread were actually starting to get a little crusty and browned so I pulled it out just in time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Movies: The Month of Musicals

John hasn't seen a lot of the classic musicals... and it turns out I haven't seen as many as I thought I had. November has been designated Musical Month and that is what we have been watching.
Singin' In The Rain (1952) - Interpretive dance... Ugh! For the most part this movie was pretty good. It dragged on at times, but for the most part is was alright.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) - What a fun movie. I hadn't seen this version for years and I love it.
The Music Man (1962) - Love this version of the movie. Robert Preston is my favorite Harold Hill.
Annie Get Your Gun (1950) - I hadn't seen this before. It's a bit cheesy but it has a lot of familiar songs in that I had never known where they had come from.
Oklahoma (1955) - I know this is supposed to be a classic, but neither of us liked it. It was too long and convoluted. Neither of us can stand interpretive dance. This is full of it.
Captain America (2011) - What? This isn't a musical? That's what I said, but in our rationalization John convinced me that there *is* a musical number in it so it is semi appropriate for musical month.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cleaning out, and Moving on.

I keep saying that we had been busy last month… but what exactly have we been doing?


At the beginning of October I started cleaning out that other bedroom in the hope of moving around some of its furniture content (ha ha) and also so the my sister Andrea will have somewhere to sleep when she comes to stay with me for a little while in January. That room is quite the task. Just when we start getting a little cleaned out something comes up and more stuff just gets shoved in there. Somehow we manage to keep the bed semi-accessible, but that's not always the case.

A few months ago I cleaned out the "blue cupboard" at my parents house and brought home the various treasures that I had stored in there. Four boxes full. And those boxes got shoved in that other room for later sorting. It got to the point that not only was the bed covered, but the floor was covered too and I could no longer get to my hair dryer. The room needed some help. I walked in there one day after work and I repacked things and shuffled boxes and got a lot of it stacked neatly in the corner. I looked through the boxes I'd brought home and decided what I wanted to keep and what I didn't really need anymore. Which, turns out was a hard thing to do. So much in that cupboard held sentimental value from High School memories and pre-mission frivolities. But I didn't need to keep it all.

Between those boxes and the rest of the room, I came up with three over stuffed paper boxes, three random baskets, and several miscellaneous items that could go to the DI. I think it made a dent… That is until Halloween happened and the decoration box got shoved in there. (Now it's time to clean up those decorations so that problem is solved.)

Now I want to get back in there and see what else can be moved where. There are about eight boxes in the corner that need to be moved up to the storage space we have in the TV room, but that involves the ladder and hauling the boxes across the house… Which means we need to have a Saturday at home to get it done. (Easier said than done.)


We are having an over crowding issues at our house, meaning we have too much stuff and not enough room.


Mid-October I decided to clean out the closet. I have finally gotten rid of everything smaller than a sixe 16 (or XL) I had a lot of clothes in my closet that I had been hanging onto because I WILL be that size again. (I highly doubt it.) I decided that I didn't need them and that if I ever do make it back to 165 that just means I get to buy new clothes. Everything XL or size 16 got hung under garbage bags in the back of the closet for later use. I don't have a whole lot in that size range so I rationalized that it's okay to keep it. (And the fact I have recently lost 10 pounds.) I also organized the closed by dresses, skirts, long sleeve, short sleeves, and T-shirts so that it's easier for John to help put away my laundry.

I think I spent the better part of a day doing this, and when I was done I must have given John a guilt complex because It wasn't an hour after I finished that he got into his side of the closet and cleaned out for the first time in the nearly 10 years we've been sharing a closet. He had a ton of stuff to put in the bags. He still had clothes from his mission when he weighed 115 lbs (maybe less.) He is not that skinny kid anymore. Then he moved from the closet to his chest of drawers and in the end we ended up with two large black garbage bags full of clothes for the DI.


This feels like we've lightened our load a little, but there is still a lot stuffed into our little house that I'm sure we don't need. Like the fact that I'm itching to get rid of the two chairs that are too big for my kitchen, but somehow we always end up needing to use them. So I guess they'll stay for now.


But even with all the stuff I have gotten rid of… I did buy a new rocking chair this month. I was at the DI killing some time, while waiting for a friend, when I walked past it. I looked at it and thought it was a nice chair. Then I realized that the seat was plenty big enough for my wider backside and then I thought it was even better. I looked around for an employee to put my name on it so I could go up front and buy it, but then... I decided that I didn't want to let it out of my sight. So I grabbed the chair and dragged it through the store with me, straight to the registers. And there I was standing in line with this beautiful chair, and, I'm not kidding, like five people walked by and said "Wow, that's a nice chair" and all I could say was "I know." but in my head I was saying "It's all MINE, suckers!!"


This has now been added to the living room, that is already too full. I have my chunky red couch and matching chair, the orange chair I got from the DI for our first apartment, the Dutch-Modern rocking chair I got from my in-laws that once belonged to John's grandpa, four book shelves of various sizes, three CD cases and a small desk. Yes, all that stuff is in my little living room. (Do you see why John and I would love a new house with some extra room.


So… yeah… we have a lot of stuff and no where to put it.


I spent a lot of time out and about looking for new Halloween decorations this October as well. I pulled out my boxes of decorations back at the beginning for the month, and as I looked through the box of past treasures I decided that I hated all of them so it was time to get something new. I went to craft stores, Halloween stores, party stores, and even All-A-Dollar to collect some new bits to add to my collection. Let me just say, now that the month is over… I love my new stuff. My house turned out pretty nice with all it's spooktacular decorations.


What else has been going on?


October 10th was Canadian Thanksgiving. We had dinner with John's parents and Holly at Marie Calendar's in Layton (yes, it's still there, and yes, it's still open.) We were quite disappointed with the super rise in prices since the last time we were there. I don't think the turkey dinners we had were worth $14 a plate. We wont go there next year. However we will celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving because we love it.


October 17th John and I had the opportunity to have my friend Michelle take our pictures. Really, it was Michelle taking pictures of John's parents. Lorraine had mentioned back at the beginning of the year how much she'd like to have a nice picture of her and dad for the kids, and since then John and I had been batting around the idea of getting them a photo session with Michelle that we'd pay for. It took me until July to actually contact Michelle, and it took us until October to actually schedule a time to get them done. And, we figured, while we were at it we'd have our pictures done too. You can see a preview of them HERE, or on Michelle Sally Photography's Facebook page.

The pictures (at least what I have seen of them) turned out beautifully. I'm so impressed with her skills as a photographer to catch just the right moment, and just the right expressions to create beautiful pictures of us average people.

We chose to get the pictures done at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, not because this place holds any significance (beyond the obvious) to me and John, but because this is where his parents were married. We thought it would be nice for them to have some great pictures with the temple for their memory books.

We had a great time with Michelle getting our pictures done. With her being such a good friend it wasn't intimidating at all (or at least not much) to have her giant camera lens in your face. The wind was blowing like crazy, my hair had gone flat, and it was cold, but we had some good laughs and the time just flew by.


October 23rd We got to go to dinner at the Brand's house. Logan and Jenny and their kids are some of our most favorite people in the world. They invited us over, along with John's parents for some Homemade Beer Brauts and quality time. John and I were of course told to come over early so we could see their oldest daughter Sam before she dashed off to Snow College again as she's finishing up her Associates degree there this spring. So we got to spend the greater part of the afternoon with them and somehow got pulled into picking grapes before it was supposed to freeze that night. We got all sticky and purple, but helped clean off the vine all before dinner time. Dinner was really good, I'm finding that I'm not as much as a Braut fan as the people I love are, but these were some really good ones.

Also, a new show premièred on Chanel 4 on Sunday nights at 7:00 PM. It's called "Once Upon A Time" and I am pretty sure that I love it.


October 24th & 25th I got to spend some quality time with my mother-in-law while we made grape juice from the three flats of grapes we got from our friends Sunday night. In the end we ended up with 43 Quarts of grape juice.

My Mother-in-law has one of these steamer things It's 3 layered. You put all the grapes in the top, stems and all, and water in the bottom and the center section is for catching the grape juice. It has a tube that you use to drain the juice out as you go. It's pretty awesome. There is no sugar added to the grape juice, and since it comes out boiling hot you just put on the lids and the bottles seal themselves. It takes about an hour per batch, but that's okay it gives me time to do other things while the grapes are steaming. We didn't let the tailings drain after steaming (using a cheese cloth, colander and another pan) because mother didn't want to, but we probably could have ended up with about 2 or 3 more quarts. I think that if I ever get really ambitious about canning I may buy myself a steamer. Apparently they're quite handy.


October 27th John and Holly and I took the evening to carve some pumpkins. We ended up with five pumpkins this year and decided to do a mostly Doctor Who Theme. I did a lot of internet searches for just the right patterns for the pumpkins. You wouldn't think it would be *that* hard to find something to put on a pumpkin, but it was.

In the end I ended up carving a TARDIS, Holly carved a Cyberman, and John... well, he carved the Legend of Zelda emblem with the Triforce, and the final pumpkin for the day I just hacked out a regular old jack-o-lantern face. (I don't have a picture of that one.) That's why I said it was a "Mostly" Doctor Who theme. The pumpkin carving took a while, but in the end we were all pretty satisfied with our work.

October 29th My oldest brother's in-laws had a Halloween party, and John and I were lucky enough to be invited. There is always a good time to be had at the White House. This year there were games,a scavenger hunt, bobbing for apples, caramel apples, and enough food to keep the masses satisfied. It was fun. Sure, it's mostly for their grand kids and friends, but it caters to us adults too. John won the best costume again this year. He was dressed as the Tenth Doctor. No one really knew who he was, apparently he just looked really great in his suit. (He won the Best Costume prize a few years ago when we went and he had dressed as V from V for Vendetta.) Up until the night before we weren't sure we were going to go this year since we had a million other things going on that weekend, but in the end I got a text from my brother asking if we were going, and if we could help my niece and nephew get there... Well, I had been wanting to see them so I figured this was as good a time as any so I agreed, and ended up leading Geoff and Nicole to West Valley. They told me I drive too fast for following. That's the truth, but I really really did try to slow down and be a better lead car, but I guess I didn't slow down as much as I though I had.

Also, that night, after the White's party we drove all the way from West Valley back to Clinton to hang out with our friends to play games and have some good adult time together. But we were earlier than they were expecting so the John's took a trip to Wal-Mart together, and I got to watch old Tom Baker Doctor Who while Angie finished up bathing their two kids. Once everyone (meaning the kids) were in bed and settled we played some great Zombie themed games and had a nice end to a long and busy day.

October 31st ~Halloween!! There was a Halloween party at my house.. Okay, it wasn't a party per say, but I had cake, food, and candy for anyone who stopped by. I had really just wanted to make a Skull cake that I had bought a pan for this summer, and I needed people to come eat it for me.

The cake turned out really nice. I used a box cake mix, but used apple sauce instead of oil. This made the cake really moist, but didn't change the flavor of it much. I glued the two halves of the skull together with store bought vanilla frosting dyed red and also used that for my crumb coating. I frosted the cake with a #16 Tip and just did white and black stars to cover the skull. Then I used a #2 Tip to outline the teeth. I made the eye with some Cadbury "eyes" chocolates that I happened to have in my fridge. They're just chocolate dots so I added a blob of white frosting to the center and then a blob of black in the center of that. I placed the entire thing on a fancy black platter and surrounded it with gummie worms, and it turned out pretty darn good if you ask me.

We had sugar cookies in the shape of superheroes, and hot cider… John even made a special *Ghosts in the Graveyard* chocolate pudding (all by himself) that was quite tasty. It was a great spread, if you missed it then you really missed out.

We saw a lot of our friends and family and their cute kids in costumes. I even coaxed a few people from the ward in out of the cold for a piece of cake. For those that lingered for the evening we played a few rounds of Zombie Fluxx, and otherwise hung out and had some good friend time with people we love.

Also, Halloween day Holly came over to spend the day with us and carved our fifth and final pumpkin into K-9, Doctor Who's faithful dog. K-9 turned out really well, except we forgot to cut air holes in him so the candles kept going out until we figured out the problem later that evening. That's why the picture I have pretty much sucks. Silly fire, needing air to continue to burn. No light makes it hard to take a photo of a carved pumpkin. You'll just have to believe me at how awesome he really was. :)


There was a lot more to October, but I'm drained of all my memories past this point. We spent a lot of time running around, watching a lot of movies, and having a great time being our wonderful selves. Here's to a new month of fun for us. See ya on the flip side.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Spiced Honey Broiled Thighs

Oh, My… It's been an entire month without a recipe from me. How sad. October just turned out to be super crazy, and it's finally winding down after the first few days of November. We'll have to enjoy this nice breather though because its almost time for the three months of horror starting with Thanksgiving. Here's hoping that we can bear it well and come out on the other side of Valentine's day the better for our trials.


On with the recipe.


Spiced Honey Broiled Thighs


2 t garlic powder

2 t chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t paprika

½ t ground red pepper

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

6 T honey

2 t cider vinegar

Cooking spray


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add thighs and toss to coat. Place chicken on a sprayed broiler pan and broil 5-7 minutes on each side. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Remove chicken from oven and brush with honey mixture. Broil 1 minute; remove chicken and turn over. Brush with remaining honey mixture and broil 1 more minute or until chicken is done.




6 oz box stuffing

Serve with stuffing prepared according to package directions.


Steamed Vegetable

½ head cauliflower or broccoli , steamed

(Ranch dressing)

Steam vegetables and stir in 1/8 c ranch dressing before serving.


Now, on to the goods and bads I did with this recipe:


I used White Wine Vinegar. I do not have any Cider Vinegar in my house. I hadn't ever needed it before. So after a brief Google search of what I could use as a substitute I ended up using some White Wine Vinegar that I happened to have in my cupboard.

I used two shakes of Cayenne Pepper. I have red pepper flakes, but no ground red pepper. And since I am neither ambitious nor do I own a pestle, I just used Cayenne Pepper that was already in my spice rack.

I didn't buy bone-less thighs. I don't think this made any difference at all. 1 lb of thighs came out to be 4 thighs and that worked out perfect for us.

Instead of a "large bowl" I put my spices in a bag and tossed the chicken in. This didn't work as well as I had hoped. Two pieces of chicken got really covered, and two were only lightly coated. Next time I'll use a plate.


This recipe was fairly easy and fast. I did have to have some help from John with my timing of it all. I think that if I do it again I'll prepare everything BEFORE I put the meat in the oven. I had to have John flip the chicken while I scrounged through the cupboards for more honey.

It seems that I always forget to check the bottom of my shopping list for the "staple" items that I may not have enough of.

Also, next time, I'll lower my oven rack another level and let the chicken cook a little longer.

I microwaved my Stovetop Stuffing, and we didn't make any veggies. Over all it was pretty good.




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